Daniel Etienne picked up his first win of the season
March 19, 2010
By Jason Clay
The Southern Illinois baseball team scored a season-high 19 runs and posted a seasons-best 22 hits to demolish Northern Illinois, 19-4, Friday in the series opener at Abe Martin Field.
SIU's biggest victory since the first game of 2009 (19-4 win over James Madison) snaps a four-game losing streak. Because of expected inclement weather on Sunday, the two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday to decide the series. Game one begins at 12 p.m.
The Salukis (6-11) used four big innings to blow past Northern Illinois (3-13). SIU scored four runs in the second, six in the fifth, six in the seventh and three in the eighth. The Dawgs batted around the order in both the fifth and seventh innings.
Head coach Dan Callahan said that it is nice to be on the winning end of a lopsided game.
"I thought we were pretty good in all phases of the game today," Callahan said. "We had a rather lengthy team meeting yesterday and I really challenged our guys in a number of areas. One game doesn't signify that you've turned the corner by any means, but at the same time they stepped up to the challenge today and I'm happy for them."
Southern Illinois' top three batters in the lineup all had three hits on the day and they combined to drive in nine runs. Two of Chris Murphy's three hits out of the leadoff spot went for doubles and he drove in three runs while crossing the plate twice on his own.
Second baseman Blake Pinnon continues his tear. He finished with three hits and four RBIs, giving him 20 runs driven in this year off of 17 hits. Pinnon and Murphy combined to have three of SIU's five doubles in the game.
Senior lefty Ryan Bradley drew the start and lasted four innings, giving up six hits and three runs with four strikeouts. He was pulled after the fourth in favor of junior Daniel Etienne because of a high pitch count.
Etienne also threw four innings as he picked up his first win of the season. He only gave up three hits and one run while fanning three batters.
"That's quite a few zeros and that's impressive," Callahan said of Etienne's work after Bradley got SIU off on the right foot. "I thought for the most part he pounded the zone pretty well. His day was big, especially in light that we'll play 18 innings tomorrow."
The Salukis pitching staff only gave up nine hits in the game, which marks just the second time all year that they have allowed single-digit hits. Junior Andrew Bever threw a hitless ninth inning after Bradley and Etienne's strong performances.
Northern Illinois starter Zach Oates (1-3) picked up the loss for the Huskies. He threw 4.1 innings and gave up 10 runs off of 10 hits.
Huskie right fielder Jake Hermsen led NIU with two hits in four at-bats. He drove in two of Northern Illinois' four runs and scored the third.
More impressive for SIU was the fact that eight different Salukis drove in runs Friday. Brian Bajer hit a pinch-hit three-run home run in the eighth, the first of his career.
SIU looks for its third series victory of the season on Saturday. Game two of the doubleheader will begin approximately 30 minutes after the first game is completed.